Foto del docente

Tvrtko Jakovina

Adjunct professor

Department of Political and Social Sciences


Syllabus 2021/2022


History of Ideological Conflicts, Assassinations, Wars and the First Rate Politicians

ACADEMIC YEAR: 2021/2022,

TEACHER: Tvrtko Jakovina, Full Professor; .

Department of History, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia; []

MIREES, Univestiy of Bologna [].


PROGRAMME: South Eastern Europe for centuries was divided or part different empires or imperial systems. It was a region where empires were colliding, sometimes cooperating or co-existing, but most of the time, just tolerating each other. Population was complex, mixed, consisting of Turks and Albanians, Bulgarians and other South-Slavs, Romanians and many minorities: Germans, Hungarians, Jews, Vlach’s. The first historical border was the one which had divided the Roman Empire in 395 AD. It was followed by the split between two Christian churches, the Orthodox and the Catholic in 1054AD. For the Byzantium as well as for Charlemagne, the region was on the very edge of their medieval imperial domains. Later, parts of South Eastern Europe become border areas of the Ottoman, Habsburg and Venetian states and systems (the so-called Triplex confiniuim; in modern Croatia). Major change for the region was brought by the Balkan wars and the Great War of 1914-1918. The Ottoman Empire (later Turkey) in early 20th century was de facto pushed from the region. The Habsburg Monarchy was no more since November 1918. However, the old imperial systems, practices and traditions, did not evaporate. New realities, kingdoms, were created, but they were usually based in the old practices, sometimes as a pure negations (the Ottoman tradition was always and everywhere negative example, justification for present-day hardships), or very positive symbols of the glorious past (the Habsburgs in some parts of SEE in the last several decades).

Hitler’s Germany had special, but not fully developed idea, what to do with the Region. After WWII the Communist “empire” was created, embracing most of SEE. What seemed to be on the path of becoming part of monolithic Soviet Empire, it was already shaken in 1948 with the Tito-Stalin split, one of the most important events of the Cold War. Even more, in early 1950’ socialist, Tito’s Yugoslavia had signed a military alliance with two NATO members, Greece and Turkey. Then the Albanian feud with Moscow and its pro-China policy (La Cina é Vicina!) created the most isolated European state. Romania had independent foreign policy, although remaining Soviet vassal together with Bulgaria. By the end of the Cold War, every Communist state in SEE was different, specific.

“Transition” after the end of the Cold War had resulted in, probably for the first time ever, the same (declarative) aim of all countries in the region - to join or to remain – part of the European Union. Still, 30 years since the end of the Cold War, big part of SEE is far from any form of European integration, but very close to Turkey, Russia, and China.

The goal of this modul is to give an overview of 20th century history of SEE, but with stress on dramatic historical turning-points. The course should try to explain how big powers and big policies were tackling the region, trying to absolve it and make it more like the centers of the empires, how new “imperial” players were introduced to the region, how and why, for example, the communist system was differently organized in 4 countries of the region.

Lecture 1:

Introduction. Is SEE more important than in other parts of the World, has history special meaning in the Balkans? How do we research history of SEE in 21st Century? History of the Balkans as part of the world history. Wars (Balkan Wars, The Great War, The Second World War, The Cold War, the Wars of Yugoslav Succession). Empires: Ottoman and Habsburg Empires, USSR and USA, European Union. Minorities. Assassinations. Dream of Europe.

Lecture 2:

SEE in early 20th century. Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908. Founding of Albania. The Balkan Wars. Bulgarian Empire.

Lecture 3:

The Great War and the end of Empires.

Lecture 4:

The Interwar period. Bulgaria in Crisis. Little Antante (Yugoslavia, Romania, Czechoslovakia), the Albanian question. (conversation).

Lecture 5:

The rise of Germany, crisis in the SEE. The right-wing groups in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. Italian imperial plans. Agrarian parties. (conversation; lecture).

Lecture 6:

The World War Two and the new Empires. Nazis and Slavs. German/Italian fascist system in SEE. Quisling regimes.

Lecture 7:

The "National Liberation War" in Albania, Greece and Yugoslavia. Enter Soviets.

Lecture 8:

After the War, before the Cold War. Superpowers as new imperialists? Yugoslav-Bulgarian-Albanian-Greek alliance-to-be? The Truman Doctrine. Yugoslav 1948 and Tito's «no» to Stalin.

Lecture 9:

Socialist and liberal systems. SEE divided: the Nonaligned Yugoslavia, Stalinist Albania, semi-independent communist Romania, pro-Soviet Bulgaria, “democratic” Cyprus and Greece, Turkey. The Chinese and the Soviets in SEE. «Big ideas, small nations”: the non-alignment of Yugoslavia and total independence of Albania. Détente in the Balkans. Decline of Communism.

Lecture 10:

End of Cold War, end of Communism. The Break up of Yugoslavia. Different paths to Europe: "Northern" Balkans (Slovenia and Croatia); Western Balkans (N. Macedonia, Kosova, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania). 


  1. BEREND, Ivan 1998. Central and Eastern Europe 1944-1993: Detour from the Periphery to the Periphery. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
  2. GLENNY, Misha 2001.The Balkans. Nationalism, War and the Great Powers 1804-1999. London: Penguin Books.
  3. LAMPE, John R. 2006. Balkans into Southeastern Europe. A Century of War and Transition. London: Palgrave Macmillan. (You can choose between Lampe or Glenny).
  4. MACMILLAN, Margaret 2002. Paris 1919. Six Months that Changer the World. New York: Random House. (Part III; chapters 9-12).
  5. MAZOVER, Mark 2002. The Balkans. A Short History. New York: The Modern Library.
  6. MAZOVER, Mark 2008. Hitler’s Empire. Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe. London: Penguin Books. (pages 327-368).


  1. Connelly, John, Nazis and Slavs: From racial Theory to Racist Practice. Central European History, vol. 32, no. 1, 1999. (1-33)
  2. Gibianski, Leonid, The 1948. Soviet-Yugoslav Condlict and the Formation of the “Socialist Camp” Model. Odd Arne Westad, Sven Holtsmark, Iver B. Neumann (ed), The Soviet Union in Eastern Europe, 1945-1989. St. Martin’s Press 1994.
  3. Jakovina, Tvrtko, Tito's Yugoslavia as the Pivotal State of the Non-Aligned; 391-406. In: Tito:viđenja i tumačenja, Beograd 2011, ur. Olga Manojlović Pintar, Institut za noviju istoriju Srbije i Arhiv Jugoslavije.
  4. Swain, Geoffrey, The Cominform: Tito’s International? The Historical Journal 35, 3 (1992), 641-663.
  5. Ristović, Milan, The birth of “Southeastern Europe” and the Death of “The Balkans”. Thetis, Mannheimer Beiträge zur Klassichen Archäologie und Geschicthe Griechenlands un Zyperns. Herausgegeben von Rinchard Stupperich und Heinz A. Richter, Band 2, Mannheim 1995.

Additional reading:

  1. CRAMPTON, R.J. 2002. The Balkans Since the Second World War. London: Longman.
  2. DIMITROV, Vesselin 2008. Stalin’s Cold war. Soviet Foreign policy, Democracy and Communism in Bulgaria, 1941-1948.
  3. IATRIDES, John. O. 1968. Balkan Triangle. Birth and Decline o fan Alliance Across Ideological Boundaries. The Hague: Mouton. (selected chapters).
  4. JUDT, Tony 2007. Postwar. A History of Europe since 1945. London: Pimlico. (selected chapters).
  5. KOLA, Paulin 2003. The Search for Greater Albania. London: Hurst. (selected chapters)
  6. MITROVIĆ, Andrej 2007. Serbia’s Great War 1914-1918. London: Hurst and Company.
  7. PAVLOWITCH, Stevan K. 2008. Hitler’s New Disorder. The Second World War in Yugoslavia. London: Hurst and Company.
  8. SERVICE, Robert 2007. Comrades. Communism: A World History. London: Pan Books. (selected chapters:20 and 21, 27 and 28, 32, 35 and 36).
  1. JAKOVINA, Tvrtko: The Tito-Stalin Split 70 Years After. Collection of Articles from International Conference. Tvrtko Jakovina and Martin Previšić (editors), University of Zagreb and University of Ljubljana, Zagreb - Ljubljana 2020.
  2. JAKOVINA, Tvrtko: Neither Love, Nor Hate. Nuclear Bomb and Tito's Yugoslavia. IN: Images of Rapture in Civilization between East and West: The Iconography of Auschwitz and Hiroshima in Eastern European Arts and Media, Eds: Urs Hefterich, Robert Jacobs, Bettina Kaibach, Karoline Thaidigsmann; Univeristätsverlag WINTER, Heidelberg, 2016, 351-367.
  3. JAKOVINA, Tvrtko: Yugoslavia on the International Scene. The Active Coexistence of Non-aligned Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia from a Historical Perspective, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, Belgrade 2017; 461-515.
  4. JAKOVINA, Tvrtko: The Evolution of Yugoslav Non-alignment: How Yugoslavia Abandoned its Opposition to Neutrality, 239-266. IN: Notion of Neutralities, Pascal Lottaz and Herbert R. Reginbogin (ed); Rowman and Littlefield 2018.

DIDACTIC METHOD: Lectures, discussions.

REQUIREMENTS FOR CREDIT: Attendance at lectures, exam. Exam will be written, based on the lectures and readings. Questions will consist of several essay (longer) questions and ID questions (shorter, more precise questions).

EXAMINATION METHOD: Written exam (essays) and class participation.

Class participation is always welcome, but substantial, meaningful contributions have positive value in the assessment of students work.

DIDACTIC SUPPORT TOOLS: Power Point presentations, video-clips

TEACHING LANGUAGE: English. Knowledge of other languages is welcome.

OFFICE HOURS: Every day after lecture or On-line.

Published on: October 06 2020